Solairus, a private jet management company, has reopened Altitude by Solairus. The company refers to this as a “Private Jet Charter Club” and it offers jet card like fixed hourly rates on the Solairus fleet.
Solairus was founded in 2009 and has over 100 base locations across the US, employing more than 2,300 flight crew and support personnel to operate a fleet currently numbering over 320 aircraft.
The company says its core business is “assisting aircraft owners with the safe, reliable, and efficient management and operation of their aircraft.”
It is one of the largest private jet operators, coming in at the 7th largest overall in 2022, and half way through 2023 it was the 5th largest charter operator.
Jet Card Product
Altitude by Solairus is a jet card type product that offers fixed hourly rates on five jet categories. The Altitude program had been put on hold during the record demand driven by the pandemic, but has just been reopened to new members. The relaunched program has some new features and new pricing, and now includes access to ultra-long range jets.
Paul Class, Senior Vice President of Charter at Solairus told me “We shut down the (Altitude) program because the overall market demand went crazy (during the pandemic),” and continued “things have calmed down a bit now, we’re not back to 2019 levels, but the market has normalized and this model makes sense.”
Hourly Rates & Features
By joining the program, members lock in hourly rates for a 12-month period from their signing date, with rates currently set at:
|Jet Category||Regular Hours||Peak Hours|
There are no blackout days in Altitude, but there are peak periods around the major holidays which are charged at the higher hourly rates in the table above.
These rates are inclusive of taxes (notably, FET, Federal Excise Tax), taxi time and fuel costs. But do not include custom catering, ground transportation, de-icing and/or hangar fees. Note that if you are comparing this with other jet card programs they may quote rates that exclude FET and fuel surcharges, so these will need to be added to the final amount. Some cards include de-icing coverage as standard, but most charge 12 minutes extra per leg for taxi time.
The Altitude program offers guaranteed availability with 48 hours notice for domestic non-peak and guaranteed availability with 14 days notice for peak periods. For travel outside the USA the program can be used for flights to Canada, Mexico, Caribbean Islands, Hawaii & Alaska with set surcharges.
The program doesn’t have any specific minimum deposit but members do need a prepaid balance. “We suggest that members start with $100,000,” said Paul Class, “but they could do $50,000 if they wanted to be introduced to the program. The challenge is that $50,000 can easily be used on one trip.” The funds in the program are fully refundable at any time and may be held in a segregated bank account available in the client’s name.
The relaunch is a further sign that the market has come off its peak. During the high demand for private flights in 2021 and 2022, several jet card programs were suspended, but most are now open again to new members. In all these relaunched programs, including Altitude, the hourly rates have gone up and call out periods are longer compared to pre-pandemic levels.